The former Shoreditch Station is not a building but a ‘chattel’. This seemingly perverse claim is rendered plausible when one recognises that the former Shoreditch Station is a building without foundations: it is a structure that straddles a series of steel beams that span what was once the now non-existent railway tracks. English Heritage recognise this when rejecting a listing of the station in 2002. So whilst the former station has little heritage, aesthetic or scientific merit, the Statement of Significance submitted with our Planning Application does appreciate that the station holds a social significance in the collective consciousness. A nostalgia for the railways and Britain’s industrialisation of transport is alive – Railway Magazine will hold their annual dinner in the former station! So whilst the building has lost use and effectively become a ghost train, it’s elevation to crown to the proposed development demands an inspired new use .

So what next? It is often said that East London is home to the greatest concentration of artists in Europe. Whilst the urine alleyway that is ‘piddley street’ mighty require the normalisation that housing allows, the WHAT_development proposal offers three floors of artspace. In some way the transformation of the building from an infrastructural use to the arts maps that of the Tate Modern and many other obsolete spaces that the creative mediums now invigorate. Of course, the penthouse ought not be for private use – a banker’s bachelor pad – but for the community. With this in mind consultations have begun with the arts charity Spitalfields Music. Their remit of education through music would be a perfect head tenant for the elevated station. Spitalfield Music’s privileging of the analogous over the digital, of man over the machine, can also be seen Shlomo’s The Vocal Orchestra


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